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-   -   Coolant & A/C drama...seeking advice (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=956696)

Big Girl Panties 11-19-2012 07:08 AM

Coolant & A/C drama...seeking advice
Hi all:

Hoping you can lend me your advice. Started about 4 days ago ~
1. Defroster mysteriously kicks on every time I start car.

2. A/C goes warm every now and then (blowing no cold air) then reverting back to cold. (Replace Final Resistor Unit aprox 4 months ago, so doubt its that)

3. Yesterday, after driving 10 miles, heard Expansion tank "gurguling" after parking. Lifting hood, saw minor about of water "blurping" from rad cap. Under car, saw significant leaking mid way thru car under section, closer to driver side.

4. Checked oil: very low. Dry on dip stick. Filled it with 3 quarts, showed it was quite full, so it wasn't totally empty of oil.

5. Today, have not driven it, oil level still same. Filled rad with 50/50, removed bleed screw, allowed coolant to over fill in attempt to remove air. Started car, ran A/C on high heat. Heat never blew hot, only cool. Within 5 mins, coolant light illuminated, leak underneath seen again, quite rapidly leaking.

So, cannot tell what the association is with the defroster, A/C temp changes, low oil and leaking is.

Would really appreciate all opinions.

Side note: Power steering pump is bad. Steering has been quite difficult, was ready to take it in this week to change out. Had it changed out 2.5 yrs ago, but the dang part went bum on me. Any correlation to this, ya think?

Many thanks!


Charl_323 11-19-2012 07:43 AM

Hell i cant see the connection. Check where coolant leaks if it leaks on water pump or filler bottle or pipes gotta start somewhere right

Big Girl Panties 11-19-2012 07:52 AM

yes, my research into this is telling me the defrost and A/C issue may be the capacitator, so generally something separate from the coolant gurgling/leak issue.

Since I dont know where the water pump is located, can't identify if the leak is in that area. I tried bleeding the coolant of air, but the leak seems to just drain too much coolant out too fast.

jasonbimmer 11-19-2012 11:01 AM

capacitor? there is no capacitor. its not a home AC electric pump.
A/C turns warm probably something to do with low refrigent.
also is your ambient temp reading on the dash correct? cuz that can affect your AC operation.
the pump is behind the pulley dead center in front of the engine above the big crank pulley.
you need to get the coolant issue fixed as soon as possible. I would overhaul the entire cooling system.

gusmagoo 11-19-2012 11:42 AM

I'm no expert but my first action would be to find and rectify the water leak...
Lack of engine cooling = fubarred engine VERY quickly.
If you can't do that yourself find someone/somewhere that can, not much help I know but you did ask...
All the other symptoms (perhaps apart from low oil) might be as a result of the leak.
I'd fix that first and take it from there.

vandyboy 11-19-2012 01:07 PM

I don't think all of the symptoms are related, unless you have a blown headgasket, which could account for two of them - the oil leak/coolant leak. What you have are spurious correlations - things that seem interrelated but are not.

1) Coolant Issue - low coolant means no heat. I would venture to say you have either a stuck thermostat, a crumbling coolant reservoir, leaking hoses, a bad waterpump or a gunked up radiator. Or all of the above.

2) Low oil - I've been searching these boards for possible oil leak locations. Depends on which side of the car you find the oil puddled. Do a search once you locate the oil field.

3) Defrost/AC - possibly in the climate control panel? First, check your dash vent - is the adjuster on blue for cold or red or heat. If it is on red, that will make A/C warm. Check your freon level, too.

Hook the car up to a code reader and see what's doing. Might answer some questions for you.

gusmagoo 11-19-2012 01:25 PM

Yes thats fair enough, my main point was that a water leak is the first thing to sort... no satisfactory cooling = overheated engine and a possible warped block...

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Bimmer App

BMWCaptain 11-19-2012 03:41 PM

Probably blown head gasket. A/c will blown warm. Oil may be sucked into coolant and/or sucked into cylinders. Compression may be causing coolant to be expelled from additional pressure.

Perform compression test on cylinders to see which may be a problem.


dmax 11-19-2012 03:58 PM

Oil being 3 qts. low tells me that you don't check your oil regularly or were ignoring low oil light.

You undoubtedly have a leak, but that might be just the cap...you have to clean things up and find the leak and remember that there might be another cause of the leak (of the crack that's causing the leak).

One possible related thing is that since you didn't check your oil for a long time, the same might have been true of your belts...and if both belts are really bad...and/or pulley is bad/seized, it's possible this is all just a symptom of horrible maintenance and really bad belts/pulleys...which would lead to a wp not pumping so well, PS not working so well, and an AC compressor not compressing so well.

It could be just a leaking cooling system, low PS fluid, low oil, low 134a...all separate things, but if this happened somewhat coincidentally, then it might not be coincidental...ironic, huh? :lmao:

Check into things, OP, and do you know not to drive the car until you get, at least, the cooling system fixed. There is some merit in replacing the whole system for around $300 if you know the radiator isn't leaking...but if you can identify the source of the leak, you still are gambling that that's the source...as in...the ET ruptured, and that's it. But, could be ET ruptured because your wp wasn't pumping, pressure built up and popped the tank before the pressure relief valve rescued it.

If you want to save money by fixing 'just' what's broken, you'll need to read a lot of posts! See Bimmersgarage's vids on the cooling system diagnosis...and see Mango's sticky above.

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